Sen. Amanda Chase, a Republican candidate for governor who has defended backers of President Donald Trump who stormed the U.S. Capitol, says Facebook has suspended her state Senate account for 60 days.
“Facebook continues to restrict free speech,” Chase wrote Friday on her personal Facebook page. “Because what I have to say does not fit their narrative my Senator Amanda Chase page has been silenced for 60 days. We no longer have free speech here in America.”
Facebook’s action came two days after a pro-Trump mob breached the U.S. Capitol. While Virginia officials from both political parties have condemned the violence, Chase has been an outlier, giving voice to the rioters’ grievances.
“I support peaceful protest,” Chase said in a Facebook video Wednesday night after returning from Washington, “but I’m telling you that when you back people of Virginia and across the United States of America into a corner you will end up with a revolution and I believe that’s what you’re starting to see.”
Facebook’s action could be a blow to the Chesterfield County Republican, who communicates regularly with her supporters through the social media platform, including through weekly video addresses. As yet Chase and former Speaker of the House Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, are the only two announced GOP candidates for governor.
In the video, Chase reiterated that she thinks the presidential election — which Congress has now certified — was stolen and she thanked people who came to Washington to support Trump. She noted that she spoke at a rally in the morning but had returned to her hotel before Trump backers stormed the U.S. Capitol.
After Chase posted on her state Senate page Thursday that “Antifa was the culprit,” Facebook labeled it as false information.
Social media giants cracked down on Trump after Wednesday’s rioting at the Capitol. Twitter initially suspended the president’s account for 12 hours, but on Friday permanently banned his account. Facebook and Instagram banned him at least for the rest of his term.
Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., who is in line to head the Senate Intelligence Committee, on Thursday called for Congress to “come down hard on the social media companies who have turned a blind eye to the preaching of hate and white supremacy and nationalism.” In October, Warner had written separately to Facebook, Google and Twitter, urging them to do more to prevent the dissemination of disinformation on their platforms.
On Thursday, Chase also posted on her Senate Facebook page that “The Republican Party needs an enema.” Chase said the party needs “to replace weak kneed Republicans with a new brand of Firebrand Republicans.”
Chase said she was “physically sick and disgusted” while watching the joint session of Congress in which lawmakers voted down objections to electors and certified President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
She criticized what she termed “so called” Republicans who “denounced and distanced themselves from Trump supporters who actually came in peace to march and rally.”
Cox, a retired government teacher, condemned the assault on the Capitol on Wednesday, calling “the lawless actions taken today” an “affront to the republic.”
Republicans will pick their nominee for governor in a convention. Chase initially balked at running in a convention, saying she would run as an independent, then changed her mind. Democrats will pick their candidate for governor in a June primary.
Democrats in the Virginia Senate on Friday called for Chase’s resignation, accusing her of “empowering a failed coup d’état.”
“For someone who defends herself and the insurrectionists she calls ‘patriots’ with the Constitution, she either willfully or unwittingly doesn’t understand what her sworn oath to defend it actually means,” the Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus said in a statement. “She has unequivocally committed insurrection, and the Fourteenth Amendment to that same Constitution charges us with the responsibility of holding her accountable.
“Senator Chase has not demonstrated either good judgment or leadership for Senate District 11 or the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is in the best interest for the Senate of Virginia and her constituents to resign.”